What a songwriter – the first thing to make itself apparent when listening to this release from Greg Schatz. Small Peace Of Mind is a fairly eclectic collection, but from the offset you feel a definite strength of composition. Fire In My Heart is a soulful and funk-infused offering, teetering slightly towards the pop side of things on occasion, making it widely accessible, and most importantly – leaving that hook and that energy lingering long after the music has stopped.
Things take a turn in the slightly country or folk-rock direction for The Devil That You Know. The pop sentiment remains, but what you really pick up on here is the story telling – the imagery, the scene setting. Greg Schatz paints a clear and captivating picture with his lyrics. Leave It All Behind follows with a jazz-like ambiance and a smoothness that begs for you to witness it live in some smokey down-town bar. The instrumentation is so colourful, hence the reference to composition on top of songwriting – the music has been crafted attentively with plenty of detail and build up.
The Way That I Feel returns to the stylish swing and rhythm of the opener, a fresh melody and concept, that personal touch undoubtedly back under the spotlight. By the time Welcome To Crazy Town begins to play, the character and individuality of the project really starts to make itself known. The musicianship is consistently rhythmic and notably organic, as if the artist and his band are right there in the room with you. The story telling too is eclectic and unpredictable, always interesting, this song in particular – a fitting outcome for such an intriguing title.
Claudine (Please come back home) has a real bluesy feel to it, a slight Christmassy twang I might add, though maybe the time of year has influenced this opinion. Get A Hold Of Yourself is a logical and satisfying next step. The indie-rock edge of this track, the vocal effect, the rhythm and pace of it all – it makes for a smooth and uplifting few minutes of music.
Roll Like A River showcases the soul and style of the piano performance and lays bare the leading vocal and the lyrical delivery in a way that has you hanging on the truth and emotion throughout. The verse pulls you in and leads you beautifully to that hook – a powerful hook, a quicker pace and a chorus of voices set in stone the strength of it and make it distinctly memorable. There are equal parts colour, character, and depth throughout this project. It’s a bright and joyful collection for the most part, but it’s not without meaning and carefully considerate ideas.
The welcome ambiance of a purely instrumental jazz piece comes in with Falling To Pieces Again. There’s a striking contrast between the smoothness of the piano and the manic rhythm and angst of the strings. The concept of falling to pieces is well represented – the war within us between the calm and the chaotic, and this idea of it not being the first time gives the music a somewhat comforting aura.
Everybody’s Got To Die Somehow is an infectiously cheery song that shines with considerable brightness. The lyrics underline the horrific aspects of modern life, and the melody and music back it up with a joyful and carefree vibe that delicately washes away your concerns. An absolute highlight, this song seems like the missing link from an upcoming film or theatre piece.
Soon Somehow features a vaguely optimistic story-line and an adventurous melody. The leading artist’s voice sounds wonderful here, the tone and character of it stand tall in this particular setting and the descending hook melody highlights an impressive range.
Drive It Till The Wheels Come Off presents a disappointingly family-friendly rhyme scheme and an admittedly addictive and enjoyable rhythm and melody that bring things to a satisfying, memorable close. As mentioned at the start, Greg Schatz knows how to write songs, and the great thing about this album is that it also underlines how very much he loves to do so. A great project and a strong choice for anyone looking for that perfect, musical, seasonal gift.
Stream the album on Spotify. Visit Greg Schatz’ Website for more information.